The professional and age-group competition aimed at growing the visibility and popularity of road racing.
SAN DIEGO – The creation of the Half Marathon Grand Prix was announced today by the Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), the leading international operator of world-class endurance events. The points based, age-group and professional competitions are the first of its kind in the running industry, showcasing what has become the dominant distance in the sport of road racing.
The Half Marathon Grand Prix will include all of the 30 half-marathons CGI organizes as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series as well as the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, which takes place on Sunday, March 24. The professional division will compete over a two-year calendar for a championship prize purse of $240,000 and began with the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon in January 2013.
“Over the past decade the half-marathon has become a special event in running for both professional and age-group athletes alike. As an industry leader behind the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon concept, this new Half Marathon Grand Prix is a monumental step forward for everyone involved in the sport of road racing,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of CGI. “With this global program our objective is to continue to grow the visibility and popularity of road running by showcasing the world’s best athletes at the world’s most popular distance.”
While the Half Marathon Grand Prix will include all 30 CGI half-marathons, it will feature the most prestigious half-marathons in the world as the six major events in the professional division, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, renowned for five world records and home to the current men’s and women’s U.S. all-comers’ records, and the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, home of the current men’s half-marathon world record. In addition to Philadelphia and the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, major elite races will include Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathons in New Orleans, where double Olympic Champions Mo Farah of Great Britain and Mesert Defar of Ethiopia topped stellar fields earlier this month, San Diego, Lisbon and San Antonio, which serves as this year’s final major event, and will be awarded double points.
The age-group competition will highlight competitive athletes from 18 to 80+ involving all 30 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathons and the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon. Points toward the Half Marathon Grand Prix rankings are earned and tracked throughout the one-year calendar based finish time and place, with updated standings posted online at the conclusion of each event. Four events will be worth double points – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, Philadelphia, Lisbon and San Antonio – with the leaders in each age-group division after Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah flown to San Antonio to compete in the season finale for $1,000 prize package.
“The age group rankings offer a simple two-pronged scoring system that every athlete can easily understand,” added Sundlun. “We’ve worked hard to create a meaningful and rewarding program, which will attract and satisfy the sport’s serious age-group athletes and be as inclusive as possible with a championship race in San Antonio that is sure to provide drama until the very end.”